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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Neighbour wins privacy row over smart doorbell and cameras


A judge has ruled that security cameras and a Ring doorbell installed in a house in Oxfordshire “unjustifiably invaded” the privacy of a neighbour, in a case that could have implications for home surveillance devices.

Dr. Mary Fairhurst claimed that the devices installed on Jon Woodard’s house violated data laws and contributed to harassment.

Both of these claims were upheld by the judge.

Mr. Woodard now faces a hefty fine.

He claimed he installed the devices in good faith as a burglar deterrent.

The feud began when Mr Woodard invited his neighbour Dr Fairhurst to a tour of his home renovations, during which she claimed he demonstrated his new security system.

According to the ruling, Dr. Fairhurst was “alarmed and appalled” to discover that he had a camera mounted on his shed and that footage from it was being sent to his smartphone.

Following a series of disagreements over the cameras, Dr. Fairhurst was forced to leave her home.

According to the ruling, the Ring doorbell captured images of the claimant’s house and garden, while the shed camera covered almost the entire extent of her garden and parking space.

Judge Melissa Clarke determined that audio data collected by cameras mounted on a shed, in a driveway, and on the Ring doorbell was unlawfully processed. She mentioned that at the time, it was not possible to turn off the audio recording feature; this was changed in a 2020 update.

She described audio data that could be used to record conversations as “even more problematic and detrimental than video data.”

“Personal data may be captured from people who are unaware that the device exists, or that it records and processes audio and personal data,” she wrote in her decision.

That, she claimed, was a violation of UK data laws, specifically the UK Data Protection Act and the UK GDPR.

Customers must “respect their neighbours’ privacy and comply with any applicable laws when using their Ring device,” according to Amazon, which made both the doorbell and the cameras.

Domestic surveillance

He warned that a future cryptocurrency crash could spread throughout markets.

A significant drop in the value of crypto-assets, for example, to zero, could force investors who have taken on debt with brokers to find cash to pay them.

“Similarly, there is the risk of contagion,” he added. “A significant drop in crypto valuations could have a broader impact on investor risk sentiment, causing investors to sell other assets deemed risky and perceived to have a similar investor base.”

“The possibility of shocks being transmitted through the financial system is created by interconnectedness,” he added.

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